I was amused by the story of “Knickers” — I saw it online, but decided the “giant cow” story wasn’t really worthy of True …and then saw it again and again and again and again! (see photo below).
Because of that, when Mike pitched it for True, I said no. Then I saw the follow-up out of Canada, and told Mike, “Do THIS one instead.” Here’s what he came up with, for the 2 December 2018 issue:
You Were Steered Wrong
Photos of “Knickers” have gone viral online: he’s a “giant” 6-foot-4-inch steer from Australia. But Kismet Creek Farm in Steinbach, Man., Canada, has a bigger one: a 6-foot-6-inch tall steer. “Everybody is pretty much smaller than Dozer,” owner Karl Schoenrock said. “Even our horses and everything else, nothing compares.” Dozer’s previous owner, a vegan, had dealt with Dozer breaking out to spend time at a nearby beef farm. “So she found us and wanted to bring him here so he could live out the rest of his days with his friends that wouldn’t go for food,” Schoenrock said. Dozer now shares a pasture with — and towers over — two other steers, and a horse. Schoenrock said visitors can see Dozer and the other animals on weekends when the farm hosts a petting zoo, where the admission fee goes toward taking care of the rescued animals. (MS/CTV) …We hope Australians don’t get their Knickers in a twist.
I gave Mike the go-ahead for this since it sparks a worthy discussion. All anyone saw online was the photo (right) of the full-grown 3,000-lb. 6-foot-4 Holstein, Knickers, next to what I understand are wagyu cattle (wagyu is a simple Japanese contraction of wa — Japanese, and gyu — cow), and they said “Wow!”
As someone who eats beef grown across the (dirt) road from me, I was less impressed.
It’s not just that Holsteins are larger. Average wagyu females weigh 500 kg (1,100 lbs.); males average 750 kg (1,650 lbs.) Compare that with the larger mature Holstein cow, which weighs in at 700+ kg (1,550 lbs.)
But what about full-grown Holstein males? Well there’s where we hit the problem with this whole silly thing: it’s very rare that a Holstein steer (aka castrated bull) grows to its full potential: they’re generally processed into meat at 15 months, when they’re a still nice and tender 1,300 lbs. (Holstein cows are kept for dairy output; females are of course noticeably smaller than males of the same age.)
“Steers can grow to tremendous sizes at a mature age,” says Daren Sheffield, who ought to know: he’s the “production records specialist” for the Holstein Association USA. “It was not uncommon for Holstein cattle raised as oxen to reach weights of 3,000 pounds.”
If allowed to grow, uncastrated Holstein bulls can easily reach 6 feet and 2,500 lbs.; steers grow larger than that — that’s why they castrate them.
And naturally, with Knickers going viral, all sorts of other steers are being touted as “bigger than Knickers” — because it’s common. Too late, no one clicks on those: (“Yawn! — been there, seen that!”)
Other Breeds Get Bigger than That
In 2014, “Barnsford Ferny” — a Charolais bull in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England, made the rounds in the news when he hit 7 feet …and two metric tons, or about 4,400 pounds, “the same as an adult hippopotamus” the London Telegraph said, or “enough meat … to make 45,000 burgers.”
So what is this all really about? Simply, it shows just how out of touch people are from the food they eat. People who have no idea this is normal get others to say “Wow!” about …something normal.
Humans feed animals to be bigger to bring more money at market, so it’s a surprise when they get big when they’re not killed because…?
Because most of us are so freaking ignorant.
Hell: isn’t that why everyone was calling Knickers a “cow” (female) when he’s a steer (male)?!
If you fell for it, here’s some consolation: giant steers really are rare …but only because almost all are killed for McDonald’s once they reach 15 months. It really is as simple as that.
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